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11-20-2013

European Cable Market Slightly on the Decrease

The European demand for cables, expressed in million metric tonnes of plastic compound (figure: AMI)

The European demand for cables, expressed in million metric tonnes of plastic compound (figure: AMI)

According to “Polymers in Cables – the European Market”, an industry study performed by Applied Market Information Ltd. (AMI Consulting), in 2013 the European market for cables was worth circa EUR 20 billion. Expressed in terms of plastic compound-on-the-cable, this market lost circa 15% of its 2007 peak volume.

Cables are used either to transport electrical power or to convey data. Most typically, they consist of metal conductors and plastic compounds, the latter providing electrical insulation, as well as mechanical, thermal and chemical protection. Some cables are complex in design, with multiple conductors, insulation, shielding and protection layers.

AMI Consulting’s study found that circa 200 firms manufacture cables in Europe, operating more than 300 production sites. From a structural point of view, Europe’s cable manufacturing industry may be described as comprising a “leading pack” of large groups, followed by a long tail of relatively small, specialised or local players.

European producers face significant challenges, including commoditisation of certain types of products, competition with non-European imports and regulatory changes. European manufacturers are adjusting their strategies in an effort to avoid the threats and exploit the opportunities arising from the market dynamics. As a result, some companies will emerge as winners, while others will find it increasingly difficult to compete. This is likely to result, in the following years, in deep structural changes in the industry.

The study covers all major application segments for insulated cables. Itl examinse the market for materials at three levels: The market for cables (expressed in terms of compound-on-the-cable), the market for compounds, and the market for resin.

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